Mercedes-Benz and BMW have more in common than just a bitter rivalry and the Fatherland — they both feel the need to get more crossover vehicles into North America.
Despite being known largely for their rich heritage of premium sedans and coupes, Bavaria’s Motoren Werke and Daimler’s Three-Pointed Star want to see utility vehicles replacing more of the cars they ship to the United States.
Last year, crossovers and SUVs comprised 42 percent of BMW’s sales in North America — an almost ten percent increase from 2015. Mercedes-Benz also saw an increase in truck sales. Sport utility vehicles now account for 47 percent of its passenger vehicle volume. However, both companies are anticipating a balanced ratio right around the corner. (Read More…)
There comes a dreaded moment in many automobile enthusiasts’ lives when the reality of having a family and the need for practicality outweighs all other considerations.
Enter that dreaded “V” word.
Getting a van — especially a minivan — is for many the automotive equivalent of getting neutered. You’ve given up, capitulated. Your desires to apex corners and outrace sports cars are now parked firmly in the third-row tier of importance, and haulin’ ass has been replaced by just hauling asses.
But getting a people-hauler doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, there are quite a few vans people claim are “good to drive.” While I’ll take their word on such things for the time being and soldier on with my wagon addiction, let’s take a look at some more inspired options for heavy-duty hauling that made the prospect of a van actually seem quite cool.
“I was pulling into a parking lot and I stopped so I could back into a spot. I had a friend of mine in the passenger seat. I backed into the spot, and was in a stopped position. I was in neutral (the vehicle is a manual 5 speed). My friend got out of the car, I had my door open as well. As my friend got out of the passenger side and was closing the door both airbags deployed.”
Not exactly what you’d expect, right?
If you ask a certain segment of the automotive press, it seems that BMW is rapidly losing the plot. While I agree that BMW’s latest wares are bigger, heavier and more leather-clad than ever before, I can’t say thing is a bad thing in my mind. I upset a few people when I reviewed the then-new 335is by saying “BMW is the new Mercedes”. I’m not sure why noses were “rankled”, but there seems to be a large segment of TTAC’s readership that believe BMW has abandoned “sport” for “luxury”. Maybe they are right; the M3 and M5 have been gaining weight an alarming pace and now we have the X5M and X6M, a pair of 5,400lb SUVs wearing full-on M badges. The burning question at TTAC is: should the guy responsible for designing it be committed? Or should the vehicle be put in a straight-jacket for being a totally insane machine?
When China’s Chery announced last December that they would be will be the first ever Chinese brand to enter the venerable Dakar Rally, a lot of people said: “Yeah, sure. Chinese cars, in the Dakar? Don’t they fall apart when they leave the lot?”
Chery’s team didn’t win, but they survived. (Read More…)
TTAC Commentator PG writes:
Sajeev, In their December 2009 issue, Car and Driver has a great article about how extended warranties — such as those offered by U.S. Fidelis and others — are largely scams that deceive customers, don’t really cover the cost of repairs at all, and don’t give refunds at cancellation.
My parents own a 2002 BMW X5 4.4. They bought it from Carmax and have the extended warranty from that dealership. It’s a fantastic car, but it’s had some very costly repairs — thankfully, those have been covered in full or at least in part by Carmax’s warranty. The thing is, that warranty expires this month and can’t be renewed.
The ‘rents are thinking of getting an extended warranty for the Bimmer, but after reading that C&D story I’m pretty convinced they would be throwing their money away. My question: are there ANY extended warranties out there that they can use? What can they do to help avoid the full cost of repairs?
Buying a new/different car isn’t really an option right now, because they want to keep the X5 as long as they can. The car has about 80,000 miles on it and still runs well, except for the occasional hiccup, but those can be pretty pricey on a BMW.
If you or the best and brightest have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.